11th hour numbers, good or bad idea?

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I'm recording 3 cover tracks in a local demo studio next weekend. We'd decided on the three tracks to do (recording over 1 day so time is tight) but everything changed at our last practice session. We decided to rehearse a track for the first time and rework it from the ground up. After spending less than an hour on the track, the vibe was so good we've chosen it to replace one of our selected tracks to record. This means we'll be recording a track that's only been worked on for 1 hour in total! Needless to say, it's way away from tight and I've not even had the opportunity to work on the drum parts properly yet. I can see this going one of two ways.

1/ Disaster/train crash. Under rehearsed so loads of studio time wasted in sorting out appropriate parts to play. Ends up as something that sounds OK on the day but everyone hates by the end of the week.

2/ Inspired performance. Really benefits from the urgency of pressure and fresh creative juices. A bit rough around the edges but the overall vibe is great.

Which do you think is the most likely? Have any of you done this directly prior to recording or an important gig? Did it work out for you, or was it a really bad idea?

I've done plenty of sessions in the past, in cold & straight from the dots, but this is different. I promise I'll post the resulting recording, good or bad, so you guys can decide.
 

mrchattr

Gold Member
I'm recording 3 cover tracks in a local demo studio next weekend. We'd decided on the three tracks to do (recording over 1 day so time is tight) but everything changed at our last practice session. We decided to rehearse a track for the first time and rework it from the ground up. After spending less than an hour on the track, the vibe was so good we've chosen it to replace one of our selected tracks to record. This means we'll be recording a track that's only been worked on for 1 hour in total! Needless to say, it's way away from tight and I've not even had the opportunity to work on the drum parts properly yet. I can see this going one of two ways.

1/ Disaster/train crash. Under rehearsed so loads of studio time wasted in sorting out appropriate parts to play. Ends up as something that sounds OK on the day but everyone hates by the end of the week.

2/ Inspired performance. Really benefits from the urgency of pressure and fresh creative juices. A bit rough around the edges but the overall vibe is great.

Which do you think is the most likely? Have any of you done this directly prior to recording or an important gig? Did it work out for you, or was it a really bad idea?

I've done plenty of sessions in the past, in cold & straight from the dots, but this is different. I promise I'll post the resulting recording, good or bad, so you guys can decide.
Well, you really hit the nail on the head. Both of those can happen. To be able to know which, you'd have to have psychic powers. I've had both experiences...heck, once, I actually came up with a totally new arrangement in my head while AT the studio. I asked if we could lay it down once, just to hear it for future reference, and BOOM, we all nailed it and loved it so much, it became the version we kept forever. At the same time, I have also seen it happen where I've gone into the studio with people all pumped up about a new song or idea, so we lay it down right away, and after the glow fades, we realize it wasn't the best thing we had, and we had messed up.

In the end, the best thing you can do is truly assess your bands talents...not just playing-wise, but learning quickly, nailing new parts, how used to the studio you guys are (if it's your first time, you will probably see that some people handle the studio like it's just another show/practice, and others freak out and suck compared to usual), how quickly they (and you) come up with parts you are happy with (as opposed to changing them over time), etc. If you are a band that can do that kind of stuff, then go for it. If not, then I wouldn't recommend assuming it will work out well. In the two bands I'm currently in and have done professional recording with, one of them is great in the studio and great at figuring out what they want to do, to the point that I would honestly be willing to say, a day before the studio, "learn this song to record tomorrow," and trust tha we could nail it in a take or two. The other band, our guitarist gets nervous in the studio, constantly changes his parts, etc. Drives me crazy even when we record stuff we've worked on for months, and have nailed down. I would never try something like this with him.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks mrchattr, nice reply. The pressure isn't huge on this occasion because we're only using a local low rent demo studio and the three tracks are just something to put on our site. That said, it still needs to be acceptable. I'm fine in the studio, many years ago, I earned my living doing a combo of live & studio sessions but some band members have no recording experience at all. That's further compounded by the fact the band's only been together for 3 months. Should be interesting. Guess I'll be keeping it simple!
 

dairyairman

Platinum Member
since you barely know the song, you might want to work out some kind of chart or cheat sheet for the song before you go to the studio. i do that sometimes. i'll at least write down a few things about the structure of the intro, verses, choruses, solos, bridges, etc.
 
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